Coach not focused on promotion for now

It's safety first for Masutha as Callies face JDR

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Pretoria Callies coach Joel Masutha
Pretoria Callies coach Joel Masutha
Image: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix/Gallo Images

Despite the fact that they’re not far off leaders Sekhukhune United on the log, Pretoria Callies coach Joel Masutha isn’t tempted to think they can have a go at challenging for promotion yet.

Callies are 10th on the GladAfrica Championship table with 27 points, eight adrift of leaders Sekhukhune. Even so, Masutha has emphasised their immediate goal is to stay far away from the relegation zone. They're also eight points away from the demotion zone.

“I can’t demand promotion from my boys. For now, the plan is to guarantee safety. We are focused on saving our status. After achieving that, maybe in the next three, four games, we may start assessing our chances of fighting for promotion,’’ said Masutha yesterday.

“Football is a funny game. The unthinkable also does happen sometimes, so let's see how we perform in our next few games. The mandate is simple, I must save the club from relegation.’’

The well-travelled Masutha, who promoted Black Leopards in 2018, doubts his vast experience of mentoring in the second tier can singlehandedly aid Callies, urging cooperation.

“My experience alone can’t count for anything. I need a buy-in from the players and from everyone associated with this club. Football is a team sport, so I think together we can achieve more,’’ said the former Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and Leopards coach.

Masutha replaced Sammy Troughton last week. The former goalkeeper will oversee his third game when the Romans take on fellow Tshwane side JDR Stars at Giant Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

In his maiden game, Masutha snatched a point via drawing 0-0 with Jomo Cosmos at home last Saturday, before beating Polokwane City 1-0, three days later, on the road.

Callies eliminated JDR from the Nedbank Cup, beating them 5-4 on penalties in the last 16 in February. The match had finished goalless after extra-time. Masutha expects JDR to aim for revenge.

“JDR were dumped out of the Nedbank Cup by us, so it’s easy to say they want revenge, especially that it’s also a derby,’’ noted Masutha.

Fixtures (all at 3pm)

Today: Cosmos v All Stars, Tsakane Stadium

Tomorrow: Pondo Chiefs v AmaTuks, King Zwelithini Stadium; JDR v Callies, Giant Stadium; FS Stars v Royal, Goble Park Stadium; Richards Bay v Polokwane, Richards Bay Sports Stadium; Umoya v Sporting, Parow Park Stadium; Steenberg v Uthongathi, Idas Valley Sports Ground

Sunday: Sekhukhune v Spurs, Makhulong Stadium

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